Podcast with Richard Hellen

 

When Richard Hellen bumped into his optometrist in his local Post Office in Cockermouth he wasn’t prepared for the outcome.

A story of eyes, shutdown and one dentist’s philosophy of life.

https://www.yorkplacedental.com/blog/my-nhs-good-news-story

 

The Incisal Edge Podcast – Marketing in a Time of Lockdown

What should Dentists do about their Marketing during this time of Lockdown?

Alun talks to Chris Baker from Corona Design and Communication.

 

Time to give up the hand shake and replace it with…

In these times of contagion fear perhaps we should reconsider our traditional meeting gesture. Research shows that the strong handshake is responsible for sharing twice as many “bugs” as the moderate handshake or high five.

The lowest risk contact is the brief fist bump. It might take a little bit of patient education but it’s the way to go.

The men from Aberystwyth did the research a few years ago.

If it’s good enough for the Obamas…

 

 

…and I thought self control was always a good thing.

Sometimes you have to admit that everything you thought was wrong was (possibly) right. Could it be that all those good habits, all that resisting temptation and weeks of denial were for nothing?

Is it possible that beating myself up after the third chocolate digestive and saying “no” to things that would have been fun but would have distracted me from my goals may well have done me more good than harm?

I now find out that there is a “Dark Side” to self control. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kokoris and Stavrova point out the downsides of resisting temptation.

It is true that people with strong self control have better health, relationships, finances and careers and fewer problems with overeating, overspending, procrastination and unethical behaviour.

However there is a downside:

Self control:

  • Can restrict emotional experiences.

  • May lead to long term regret.

  • Can lead to increased workload.

  • Can be used for ill.

  • Isn’t for everyone.

  • Can lead to long term bias.

Before being full on about “self control” perhaps we should practice some “self compassion”, learn to know and like ourselves, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack and be more realistic.

Read the full paper HERE

I’ll have another marshmallow now please.

…on the other hand, life can be good.

A contrast from yesterday’s blog where I said that many people who work as clinicians are not suited to the job, have made decisions for the wrong reasons and are unhappy.

Dentistry is rewarding in many ways, if you get the design of your job right – and I’ll talk about that tomorrow. It pays relatively well – especially in early years, it is challenging both intellectually and physically, has social kudos, it provides ways of stimulating your interest in different areas as time progresses. There are opportunities to be your own boss, to build a business or businesses, you get to work as part of a team and above all you get the thanks and respect of your patients who you are able literally from cradle to grave.

Take a look at this recent survey from US News about highest paid and “best” jobs and see where a dental degree might take you. I am aware that most of my readers are in the UK (& Ireland) and the reason that I have used this link to help you to see what might, could and should be possible for you to achieve with your degree.

But, and its a big BUT, and at the risk of using a cliche, you must think, look and act outside the box. The climate of fear, in the UK especially, is dividing the profession, helping to keep people down and constantly looking over their shoulder for the next problem. Those who want to serve their patients, who get involved in successful clinical and therefore, business relationships will flourish. Of course there is a need for personal and business resilience to safeguard yourself. Of course you need strong and effective systems to ensure that you can serve your patients to the best of your ability.

Personal and business success is achievable in any country, any jurisdiction and any health system but it will not be delivered on a plate, it takes time, dedication and hard work – if you’re willing success will come, if you’re not then prepare to be disappointed. 

 

You don’t have to do this…”Things They Didn’t Teach You at Dental School”

An excerpt from the forthcoming book, “101 Things They Didn’t Teach You at Dental School”

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius. Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3.

Is Dentistry really what you want to do? You don’t have to.

Many dentists made the decision about what to study at university in their mid-teens. A time of life that is short on maturity, experience and insight. Parents, teachers and career advisers see dentistry as a well-remunerated, socially acceptable profession with a good secure future. 

Unfortunately a number of dentists are ill suited to a profession that makes extensive physical, mental and emotional demands. How many of us have the nerve to say that it’s not what we want?

After 5 years as an undergraduate and carrying a large student debt it is a very brave new graduate who would dare tell their parents and family that they have chosen the wrong subject to study. Humanities and pure sciences graduates would be fortunate to continue with their subjects. It is only the vocational degree where the graduate is able, or expected, to follow the career pathway without a second thought.

Socially, to turn away is akin to leaving your fiancée at the altar, yet an individual is to be admired for admitting that they don’t feel the commitment needed to make a happy marriage. 

Turn things on their head, if you know in your heart of hearts that you are unfulfilled and unhappy being a dentist isn’t it better to say so sooner than later? How many more miserable years do you want to tolerate? How much stress and heartache can you endure once you have admitted to yourself that you’re in the wrong place? 

There are far too many dentists who have plodded on through their BDS and Foundation Training then on to associate posts and partnerships without considering the future or an alternative.

They think this is the way that it has to be, it will get better, easier, less of trial to get out of bed in the morning – next year. Living from holiday to holiday they get little fulfilment from the work they do or the people for whom they are supposed to care. 

Often these are the ones who succumb to the stressors. The use of alcohol and other drugs, gambling or other addictions along with failed relationships are commonplace.

I have attended funerals of apparently happy and successful dentists who have taken their own lives because they could only see that one way out.

These problems are not unique to dentists and many people as Thoreau put it “live lives of quiet desperation”. 

What else is possible? 

Answer – anything that you want to be. There are ex-dentists who are successful architects, writers, lawyers, and musicians. I know a former orthodontist who now builds dry stone walls (and will teach you how to build them too). The discipline of your training means that you are suited to re-train.

Stuck in a government-devised rut, which rewards quantity not quality?

If you want to change then say so, and do something about it. This isn’t a rehearsal; there is no second chance at life, no re-run. If you want to be better, nobody else can do it for you.

 

%d bloggers like this: